A lot of press has been made of Director Ridley Scott, and the other producers of All the Money in the World, and their decision to replace Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer in the wake of the allegations against Spacey. Watching Plummer was interesting knowing how quickly his scenes were put together. It’s an amazing feat, but it’s possibly the most interesting thing about the movie, based on the true story of the kidnapping of a billionaire’s grandson and his refusal to the pay the ransom. It aims to be taut thriller, but the stronger element is the character interplay.
Plummer is John Paul Getty, the richest man in the world, but also an enigmatic loner and miserly art collector. When his grandson is kidnapped he famously refuses to fund the ransom, leading his ex-daughter-in-law Gail (Michelle Williams) and the ex-CIA agent on his payroll (Mark Wahlberg) to explore alternate ways to rescue the kidnapped teen. The interplay between all three is really great, and Plummer captures the famously cantankerous and domineering Getty. Williams is the emotional center of the film, fully of steely resolve and bitterness at being at the mercy of a family she thought she left behind. Where the film falters is in trying to force more action scenes, and playing a little too loose with the truth.
The final chase scene, the dramatic climax with the kidnappers, the final moments of the elder Getty, are all too unbelievable (and verifiably false) for a movie purporting to be based in truth. It’s a shame because the character dynamics are strong enough to carry a better film. If Scott were more interested in the real story, and the character dynamics, we would have a more interesting film than this flimsy, tepid thriller. Extra points for the reshoot efforts and Spacey creep factor aside, I have to imagine it’s still more interesting with Plummer than watching an unrecognizable actor caked under makeup and padding.
My Grade – C